Wednesday, December 29, 2010

cailanese

At almost 2 years old, Caila loves to talk, and we do our best to help her develop her vocabulary by speaking to her and helping her identify body parts and the pictures in her books. She can pretty much say simple words clearly, but there are some that we had difficulty understanding at first.
Here are a few of the words that are part of what we call her Cailanese language:

Ayla = Caila
Biya = banana
Dada = karga (carry)
Arnie = Barney
Ba-bub = Sponge Bob
Mouse = Mickey Mouse
Ataw = ikaw (you)
Ayskim = ice cream or yoghurt
Papay = tinapay (bread)
Papays = french fries
Chup-chup = ketchup
Apay = salabay (piggy-back ride)
Adu = love you (but if she says it slowly, she can say “I love you” clearly)
Tetu = thank you
Ati = makati (itchy)
Toleyt = chocolate
Aning = Auntie Ning
Abes = God bless (she accompanies this by making a mark on our foreheads with her thumb at the same time, as if making the sign of the cross)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

compliments

Taking into account what I do, I usually just receive words (or e-mail messages) of thanks; and most often, these are said as acknowledgement. Rarely do I get any compliments or genuine words of gratitude from my colleagues and superiors. So you can imagine how surprised and happy I felt during these times:
1) Our big boss in Japan sent an e-mail to our Deputy General Manager. It was entirely in Japanese, but in English, it translated to “I am very grateful for the number of times Pamela has had to amend my bookings . There is no excuse for the many changes she has to do every day. Please let her know. It is very kind of her.”
2) The same big boss had sent me a box of Dorayaki during his last stopover in Dubai. He hadn’t visited the office, but he had instructed our DGM that this was only for me and my family as “a very small gratitude for your kindness. Next time, I will try to find out and bring another kind of sweets.”
3) After engaging in a simple conversation with her and her mother, the 4 year old daughter of my Serbian colleague suddenly told me “I like you. You’re very sweet.”
4) One of our Project Managers came to me this morning congratulating me and telling me that I managed to do a great job pulling off last night’s event, considering that I had to put up with my boss’ attitude the entire time. I received a similar e-mail from our Construction Manager, saying that the games I had organized were fun, which helped make the evening a success. And just a few minutes ago, the other Project Manager told me that he "really enjoyed the games that were put together" last night and I was a "very good game master."

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

still blessed

Last night, I almost wanted to break down.
I was exhausted from having to go back and forth between the Immigration Department so many times and I was worn out from my never-ending arguments and negotiations with our former real estate; not to mention that our finances were almost depleted from all the expenses due to the sudden move to our new apartment across town.
I was in the car with hubby on our way home, and I wanted to cry in resignation. Silently, I asked God why He was giving us such a difficult time just to sponsor Yaya’s darn visa. It was supposed to be such a simple and fast thing to do, but evidently in our case, new problems arose every single step of the way.
Anyway, as I was questioning God, hubby and I passed by 3 cars that were involved in an accident near DAFZA. And later, we saw a car that was wrecked almost way beyond repair at the intersection near our building. In both accidents, we saw Dubai Police and Ambulances, so definitely, some people were hurt.
That’s when I realized that in spite of everything, we were still blessed. I had focused too much on the problems we were facing, that I neglected to see the reason and purpose as to why we had to go through all of this, as well as the blessings that we had been receiving along the way.
Right that moment, I silently whispered my thanks to God in prayer...something that I should have done before, but unfortunately, it took 2 car accidents to make me open my eyes.

Monday, December 13, 2010

a story of appreciation

Thanks to Ann for sharing!

One young academically excellent person went to apply for a managerial position in a big company.
He passed the first interview, the director did the last interview, made the last decision.
The director discovered from the CV that the youth's academic achievements were excellent all the way, from the secondary school until the postgraduate research, never had a year when he did not score.
The director asked, "Did you obtain any scholarships in school?"
The youth answered "none".
The director asked, "Was it your father who paid for your school fees?"
The youth answered, "My father passed away when I was one year old, it was my mother who paid for my school fees."
The director asked, "Where did your mother work?"
The youth answered, "My mother worked as clothes cleaner."
The director requested the youth to show his hands. The youth showed a pair of hands that were smooth and perfect.
The director asked, "Have you ever helped your mother wash the clothes before?"
The youth answered, "Never, my mother always wanted me to study and read more books. Furthermore, my mother can wash clothes faster than me."
The director said, "I have a request. When you go back today, go and clean your mother's hands, and then see me tomorrow morning."
The youth felt that his chance of landing the job was high. When he went back, he happily requested his mother to let him clean her hands. His mother felt strange, happy but with mixed feelings, she showed her hands to the kid.
The youth cleaned his mother's hands slowly. His tears fell as he did that. It was the first time he noticed that his mother's hands were so wrinkled, and there were so many bruises in her hands. Some bruises were so painful that his mother shivered when they were cleaned with water.
This was the first time the youth realized that it was this pair of hands that washed the clothes everyday to enable him to pay the school fee. The bruises in mother's hands were the price that the mother had to pay for his graduation, academic excellence and his future.
After finishing the cleaning of his mother hands, the youth quietly washed all the remaining clothes for his mother.
That night, mother and son talked for a very long time.
Next morning, the youth went to the director's office.
The Director noticed the tears in the youth's eyes, asked: "Can you tell me what have you done and learned yesterday in your house?"
The youth answered, "I cleaned my mother's hand, and also finished cleaning all the remaining clothes."
The Director asked, "Please tell me your feelings."
The youth said,
"Number 1, I know now what is appreciation. Without my mother, there would not be a successful me today.
Number 2, by working together and helping my mother, only I now realize how difficult and tough it is to get something done.
Number 3, I have come to appreciate the importance and value of family relationship."
The director said, "This is what I am looking for to be my manager. I want to recruit a person who can appreciate the help of others, a person who knows the sufferings of others to get things done, and a person who would not let money as his only goal in life. You are hired."
Later on, this young person worked very hard, and received the respect of his subordinates. Every employee worked diligently and as a team. The company's performance improved tremendously.

.............

A child, who has been protected and habitually given whatever he wanted, would develop "entitlement mentality" and would always put himself first. He would be ignorant of his parent's efforts. When he starts work, he assumes that every person must listen to him, and when he becomes a manager, he would never know the sufferings of his employees and would always blame others. For this kind of people, who may be good academically, may be successful for a while, but eventually would not feel sense of achievement. He will grumble and be full of hatred and fight for more. If we are this kind of protective parents, are we really showing love or are we destroying the kid instead?
You can let your kid live in a big house, eat a good meal, learn piano, watch a big screen TV. But when you are cutting grass, please let them experience it. After a meal, let them wash their plates and bowls together with their brothers and sisters. It is not because you do not have money to hire a maid, but it is because you want to love them in a right way. You want them to understand, no matter how rich their parents are, one day their hair will grow gray, same as the mother of that young person. The most important thing is your kid learns how to appreciate the effort and experience the difficulty and learns the ability to work with others to get things done.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

disney magic

My thoughts were wandering a while ago to the time I went to Disneyland in Paris in 2005.

Actually, I never thought that I would be able to go there. It just so happened that our group who were in Germany that time for the 20th World Youth Day were allowed a Free Day, where we could go anywhere we wanted in Europe, as long as we would meet up with the others the next day at Marienfeld.

Instead of choosing Amsterdam and cities in Germany like the others, my friends and I decided to go to Paris and visit as many tourist spots as we could. We visited the Notre Dame Cathedral, Eiffel Tower (of course!), Arc de Triomphe, and Champs-Elysées. Finally, we went on the train to Disneyland. As soon as we arrived, we found out that the parade would be starting in a few minutes so we all split up to get the best places we could find. I saw Cinderella, Chip & Dale, Goofy, and so many other Disney characters pass by in front of me. I was enjoying every minute, giggling like a little girl whenever one of them would look my way.

And then, I saw Mickey Mouse on his steamboat approaching. I was smiling and waving at him like everyone else, when Mickey Mouse looked at me (at least, I think he did) and I suddenly remembered a promise my Papa made to me when I was still a child. He had told me that one day he would take me to visit Disneyland (but he died without being able to do so). The next thing I knew, I was crying my eyes out, tears streaming down my cheeks. I must have looked like a complete idiot that time, but I couldn’t help it. I felt Papa’s presence there with me, letting me know that even in death, he still found a way to take me to this magical place.

So, that’s what happened. World Youth Day was probably my main reason for going on that trip, but I guess Papa saw this as an opportunity for him to fulfill the promise he made to his daughter even though he was no longer alive.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

ice-cream

Friday after lunch, we all went to MOE. Caila was becoming fidgety, walking up and down the aisles and touching almost everything on display; so we told her that if she behaved, we would buy her ice-cream. Of course, since she loves this dessert, she immediately obeyed. After an hour, we left the mall and were on our way to the metro station. Caila was walking between hubby and me, holding our hands. Suddenly she stopped, looked up at hubby, and said “Daddy...ice-cream?”
We were shocked. It was the first time for her to ask in such a loving way. She hadn’t said “please,” but she sounded so sweet, who could resist? It was her Sweet Day anyway, so after we had a quick bite at the food court at Bur Juman Mall, I bought an ice-cream cone at Burger King and gave it to her which she consumed almost immediately.
Saturday afternoon, this time we went to DFC with Mike. While hubby and I were checking out the displays at Ikea, we left Caila with Mike and Ate Cel. Since Caila wasn’t yet familiar with Mike, he told her that he would buy her ice-cream if she would go with him. Naturally, it worked. By the time we had left the store, they were buddies. We had just gone a few steps when Caila asked to be carried. She didn’t want to ride in her stroller, she didn’t want to be carried by Mike or Ate Cel, and I was too tired to carry her, so hubby scooped her up in his arms. While we were heading towards the elevators to go to the parking area, Caila looked at hubby with a pleading look and whispered softly “Daddy...ice-cream?” We both laughed. She was so cute! It was as if she was reminding us that Mike had promised her ice-cream and she was too shy to ask him. We called Mike and asked Caila to repeat what she just said but she was too embarrassed. Anyway, we told Mike what had just happened, so he immediately carried her and they headed off to McDonald’s for the ice-cream he promised, with hubby and I laughing so hard as we followed them.
Lesson learned: Don’t promise Caila ice-cream if you don’t intend to give her any. She’ll surely remember.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

on the first day of the last month of the year

Wow! We've already entered the last month of 2010. Where did the time go?! It seems like only yesterday when I was with Caila and my family, watching fireworks go off in the Philippines; and now in 4 more weeks, we’re going to usher in a new year with our new home here in the UAE (more details about this in a separate post).
Personally, I’m glad 2010 is about to end. There were a lot of challenges that me, my family and friends had to face...individually, but we were affected just the same. Two people I know passed away suddenly, three of our friends had to go back to the Philippines because life in Dubai wasn’t working out for them, we had to live without our daughter for almost 5 months, our close friend lost her baby due to an ectopic pregnancy, and not forgetting to mention financial constraints due to the crisis.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that the year was all that bad. Our baby’s first birthday was a success, our close friend (who had an ectopic pregnancy) became pregnant again, I faced my fear and got a driving licence, Caila is with us and she gets along well with her nanny, hubby has a new job with a higher salary and family benefits, I was able to travel to the Philippines three times in less than a year, and just the fact that me and my loved ones are all healthy and still alive is enough reason for me to be thankful.
Although 2011 is just around the corner, I’m sure that many things will happen before 2010 ends. Some of them, we’re just waiting to happen; some of them will happen unexpectedly and everything could change.
Anyway, there’s only 30 more days left in the year...better to live each day at a time, than worry about what the future may (or may not) bring.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

surgeons?!

Saturday afternoon, by 12:15pm, our Deputy General Manager finally decided to let us go home early because the smell in the office (caused by the insecticide that was sprayed last Thursday evening) was too much to bear. Hurray!

Here is a picture of me with my 3 colleagues at the reception, goofing around with the face masks we had to wear just before we left the office.

Hmm...I can see myself in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy now, working beside McDreamy and McSteamy in the OR (hahaha!)

Monday, November 22, 2010

don't sing me that song again, daddy

Last night, after drinking her bottle of milk, Caila begins to fidget in bed. Since hubby and I are already sleepy, we also want her to go to sleep (naturally!)...and so the conversation goes...
Hubby: Anak, sleep na tayo okay?
Caila: Okay.
Hubby: Sige, kakantahan ka ni Mommy.
Me: Si Mommy o si Daddy?
Caila: Daddy!
Hubby: O sige.
(hubby inhales, and just when he opens his mouth to begin singing...)
Caila: Mommy! (I try hard not to laugh, unsuccessfully though)
Hubby: Di pa nga ako kumakanta, ayaw mo na kaagad?!
Caila: Mommy!
Me: O sige.
(I sing “Smile” and almost reach the end of the song when Caila starts to fidget again)
Me: Di ka naman nakikinig. Si Daddy na lang ang kakanta.
Caila: Daddy!
Hubby: Ok.
(He inhales and starts to sing a song we used to sing in SFC, “Heaven”) You -
Caila: Mommy!
Me: Hahahahaha!
Hubby:
(he’s already amused, but tries to look angry) Hmp! Ano ba yan?
Me: Sige, ako uli.
(I only sing the first stanza of “Silent Night, Holy Night”)
Me: Caila, ikaw naman mag-sing.
Caila: Aya? Sing?
Me: Opo. Sige na.
(I help her by singing the first word of Beyonce’s song) Listen...
Caila:
(singing) Aaahh...Aaaaaahhh... Daddy!
Hubby: Ayoko na. Ayaw mo naman ako pakantahin eh. Linoloko mo lang ako.

Hahahaha! Nagtampo!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

bye-bye pao!

We never wanted Caila to use the pacifier, but then there came a time when she cried so loudly in the middle of the night and there was nothing we could do or give that would make her stop, so we finally decided to try the binky...and there was silence. Since then, every time she became fussy, we resorted to the pacifier.

We researched widely on the pros and cons of this little soother. My foster parents from Germany who are dentists and have their own clinic said it was ok (at least, until she was 2 years old). So, since it was a big help to us (especially if we were out in public), and better than having Caila suck her thumb instead, we decided to keep the pacifier.

When I went home to the Philippines to fetch Caila and her nanny, I discovered that the pacifier was almost a constant fixture to her mouth. Although she was 20 months old, I was slightly worried that she would become too attached to her Pao (yup, that’s what she calls it) and her growing teeth might be affected. On our first night together, after she had finished her bottle of milk, she immediately asked for Pao. I gave it to her, but first explained that only when she was going to sleep would she be allowed to use it. She agreed, and once she had drifted off to dreamland, I took it out of her mouth. The next morning when she woke up, she immediately asked for Pao. I reminded her calmly of the agreement we made the night before, and fortunately, she didn’t make a fuss (I was so proud!).

During the day, she would often ask for her pacifier, and we would all remind her that she would get it only if she were going to sleep. This went on all throughout our remaining days in the Philippines until she learned to ask for it only when it was time for her to go to bed.

Before our trip to Dubai, I had planned on just telling Caila that we had left Pao in the Philippines in case she asked for it (but the truth is, it was already in her bag). Things went ok at first. She believed my story and would just stay quiet in my lap during the flight. But then, the plane started descending to land and the air pressure was too much for her little ears. She didn’t want to eat or drink anything, so out of desperation, I gave her the little soother to stop her from crying. Somehow, it worked.
But then of course, I had to think of another way to “lose” her binky.

Back in Dubai, things continued like before...she would only be given her Pao if she was going to sleep and once she had drifted off, we would take it out of her mouth. In the car, or whenever we went out, if she asked for it, we would just tell her that we had left it at home.

We still hadn’t thought of a story to make her stop using the pacifier, until last Thursday. That evening, after attending a party in Deira, we went straight to my sister’s place in Discovery Gardens where we were going to spend the night. As usual, after drinking her bottle of milk before bed, Caila asked for her Pao. We told her that we had left it at home and Aning (that what she calls Auntie Ning, my sister) didn’t have any at her place. Although she didn’t make a fuss, she kept asking for it over and over again; and in turn, we would keep explaining to her that we forgot to bring it with us. Finally, I guess she believed us, so she went to sleep without her Pao.

The next day, after Caila had her bath and began to feel sleepy, again she asked for Pao. Again, we reminded her that we had left it at home. This time, she asked for it only three times before nodding off to sleep. In the afternoon, we returned to our apartment. When Caila climbed on to bed for her afternoon nap, she immediately asked for Pao. I’m sure she was expecting to get it right away, but instead, we told her that we had left it at Aning’s place. Of course, she didn’t believe us at first. She kept asking for it every ten seconds, but we stuck with our story. Finally, I guess she realized that there was no way she would get it no matter how many times she asked, so she resigned and slept. The same thing happened again that evening.

But Saturday was different. In the afternoon, as she was about to have her nap, we expected Caila to ask for her beloved Pao...but she just remained quiet after drinking her milk and went to sleep. Probably she was too sleepy or she forgot about her pacifier, but whatever the reason, we were happy. Then, in the evening, maybe she remembered her binky again because she asked for it. As usual, we gave her the same reason. This time, all she said was “Pao? Pao? Ba-bye Pao! Bye-bye!” with matching hand-waving in the air. To us, that was a major accomplishment.

I’m really happy that detaching her from it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be (honestly, I thought she would throw tantrums or shriek her lungs out). And I’m so proud that she is no longer dependent on the pacifier to soothe her. Hurray!

Monday, November 15, 2010

things i learned yesterday

Actually, these are things that I am always aware of, or received countless forwarded e-mails about, or heard in many talks in CFC and SFC. But yesterday, I was reminded about them...and I hope I won't forget them or take them for granted ever again.

1) Life is short. You never know when or how yours will end, so you should make it as meaningful as you can.
2) Friends made in Christ are true friends for life. They may not end up being your best friend/s forever, but they will surely be good friends you can count on.
3) The wife is her husband's partner; but the husband is still the head of the family who makes the decisions.
4) Couples should never say anything negative about their partner to anyone (remember when we said our vows "...to honor and respect...").
5) Bad things happen to all of us and we often don't know why, but the only things that can help us overcome them are true friends, family and God.
6) Think before you speak. You'll regret it if you don't.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

he did it again!

Manny Pacquiao vs. Antonio Margarito
Congratulations, PacMan!
Once again, you have made the Filipinos around the world proud!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

she's back!

It’s been a week since I returned from my (very short) trip to the Philippines. Of course, the only reason why I went to the Philippines was to bring back Caila, along with her nanny.

Thankfully, we didn’t encounter any problems at NAIA. We were worried that the return booking of Ate Cel’s flight wouldn’t show in the system, or that the Immigration officer would ask her for other requirements, but fortunately, everything went smoothly. The flight was ok, Caila slept most of the time, and we arrived in Dubai 30 minutes ahead of schedule.

That night, the three of us squeezed in our bed with Caila in between hubby and me, allowing both of us to cuddle her and thank God that our family was together again. I remember the following morning, Guchi and I had just woken up and Caila was still sleeping soundly. He leaned in just to sniff her, and remarked wistfully that she doesn’t smell like a baby anymore, but like a kid already.

Well, it’s true. We missed out on almost half a year with her and kids this age always grow fast. She’s no longer an infant, but a very active toddler. Caila may be small (she takes after her parents...duh!), but she can walk really fast, has stretched her vocabulary to simple words that we can easily understand (about 90% of the time), and uses her imagination when playing with her toys. Being “malambing,” she responds right away with a tight embrace or kiss when we ask her for one or if we’re leaving for work (well, except when she has her mood swings or wants to act “pakipot”).

There are times that she has tantrums or cries almost immediately when we don’t give her what she wants, but hubby and I are trying to discipline her and teach her that she can’t have things her way all the time. Very often, I have to remind myself that even though I see her as a miniature version of me, our daughter is an individual, who has her own personality, trying to discover things and observing what she sees. Her mind is like a sponge, so we have to be careful what we do or say around her, and whatever we watch on television.

Yes, it’s an adjustment to have a little person in the apartment with us again after a long time. Now, we can’t go out anytime we want to, we can’t stay out late, plus so many other restrictions. But of course, nothing beats opening the apartment door to a pair of little arms stretched out for a tight hug and a wide smile welcoming us home after a tiring day at work.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

reuniting with my baby

I'll be leaving tomorrow morning for the Philippines (29 October) and coming back to Dubai with Caila and her yaya on Wednesday (3 November).

I'm soooo looking forward to hugging and kissing my baby after soooo long. I'm sure she's changed a lot since I last saw her almost 5 months ago. Just by looking at her during the times when we chat and the pictures that Guchi's sister posts on FB shows that she's grown so much already.

The only thing I'm worried about is if she won't recognize or go near me when we see each other tomorrow. That would be too painful.

Anyway, what's important is that we'll be together very, very soon (approximately 1day and a few more hours). Hurray!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

the day i became a licenced driver

That morning, instead of dropping me off at the driving school like he used to do when I took my first 2 road tests, hubby dropped me off at St. Mary’s. I had planned on spending a few minutes in prayer before going to the school, but when I entered the church, a mass was ongoing. Since it was already the Consecration part, I decided to leave after the mass. While everyone was taking Communion, something in me wanted to ask the priest to pray over me. So after the mass, I rushed out and waited for him to come out. Usually, the priests come out right away, but this time, I had to wait for some time. There was another priest that passed by in front of me, and I was hesitating on whether to ask him instead...but I really wanted the other one to pray over me, so I kept waiting. Finally, I saw him approaching, so I walked towards him, said good morning, and asked if he could pray over me because I would be having my road test that morning. Immediately, he placed his hands above me and prayed. I don’t know if it was because I was anxious and nervous, or because I could feel the Holy Spirit, but as soon as he began, I started to cry (not the uncontrollable crying that needed gasps of air; just the silent, tears-running-down-my- face kind of crying)...and I didn’t stop until he made the Sign of the Cross. I felt at peace. After thanking the priest, I headed outside the church compound, walked up the footbridge to other side of the road, took a cab, and headed towards the driving school.

When I arrived at 7:20am, there were already so many ladies in the waiting area. Like before, I submitted my driving permit to the lady examiner in the other room. Unlike before, the examiner who was usually there first (the one I took both my past tests with), was not there. I immediately thought that I had a big chance of passing. Anyway, because of the thick fog that enveloped Dubai that morning, the ladies’ road test began at 8:40am (more than 1 hour late). Since there were only 2 examiners and 3 ladies per car, there were about 5 batches of us. I was included in the last batch. So, approximately 10 minutes per student, 3 students in a car, total of 30 minutes per batch. That meant I would have to wait approximately 2 hours. Oh, the agony and anxiety in waiting! I was the only Filipina taking the test, so you could guess that all the others (Pakistanis, Indians, Arabs, etc) were talking to each other while I just kept quiet and silently prayed begged God to help me pass the road test.

Finally, at 9:55am, the examiner called us and I was the first one to take the test. On the way to the car, I pulled out the throw pillow I had in my backpack, showed it to the examiner and said “I’ll be using a cushion.” I know she wanted to laugh (hey, even I would have if I were in her place!), but she just smiled and said it was “No problem.” You see, even though it’s embarrassing, I really need a cushion when I drive coz I can’t see the front of the car properly without one. I would have to strain my neck all the time. Even when I was taking my lessons, my instructor would always have a pillow ready for me; and when I took the road test last week, I also used a cushion. So anyway, I got in the car, checked the mirrors, put the seatbelt on, and waited for the examiner’s signal to start. She was nice. Once she had written whatever details she needed to put on the paper, she wished me luck and told me to begin. Out of the school we went, towards Al Wasl Hospital, along Oud Metha, up the bridge, then to Healthcare City where she told me to slow down and park the car at the side. Since she didn’t use her brakes nor did she turn the steering wheel at any time, I felt that I had a chance. The Indian lady was next, and after her, the Pakistani lady.

After 30 minutes, we returned to the school, got out of the car, and headed to the Waiting Room. About 5 minutes later, the Indian lady (who sat next to the door of the Examiners Room) said she heard my name being called. So I jumped out of my seat and went inside. As soon as I approached the examiner’s desk, I saw the paper with a FAIL stamp and immediately, my heart sank. She had her back to me because she was searching for something on her desk so she didn’t see me, but she knew someone was in front of her. She then asked me how many classes I had taken and I answered “Around 50 plus.” That’s when she looked at me and said, “You’re Pamela. I was calling Lina.” Right away, I felt my hopes going up again, and went out of the room calling the Pakistani lady. The Indian lady was called next; then finally me. As soon as I was in front of the examiner, she said “Congratulations. You passed.” It took me a few seconds before it finally registered in my mind what she told me, then I shrieked and jumped, said “Thank you so much!” rushed out of the room and jumped and shrieked again in front of the other ladies in the Waiting Room. I was so happy! I called my instructor and he told me to wait for him as he was with another student. Right after that call, I informed hubby of the good news. And then I called my manager who told me to do everything I needed to do since I was already at the school.

As soon as Mateen arrived, he congratulated me, asked me to fill up a feedback form, gave me my card where he wrote PASSED on, and told me to submit my passing papers and pay the fees at the Cashier (which I did). I wanted to get my driving licence that same day (of course!), so I headed to the room where the licences were issued and gave the person there the rest of the required documents. Since I was seated near the photo room, I could see the people getting their pictures taken...and I was a bit worried because all of them (Indians, Pakistanis, Europeans, Filipinos, Chinese) weren’t smiling. They were all serious and had poker faces! Why was I worried? Because I thought they don’t allow the people to smile for the driving licence and I don’t look good in photos if I don’t smile. Just to make sure, when my name was called, I asked the lady if I could smile. She was a bit surprised, and yes, you can guess that she laughed, but she said it was ok. I didn’t care if she thought I had asked a silly question. I was happy and I wanted to make sure I look good in my driving licence (it’s valid for 10 years so I should have a nice picture on it, right?) Anyway, once she was ready, I sat on the chair, and smiled at the camera. I got the driving licence in about 5 minutes. After that, I went to another room, collected my Passing Certificate, and left the school for the last time. Hurray!

I arrived at work by 12:10pm. Within a few minutes, everyone found out that I got my licence and started joking at me for the sweets, or to give a party, or to buy everyone lunch. Even the really big bosses from our Japan and other Middle East offices who were visiting came to me to congratulate me. There was also a time when our Deputy General Manager joked that I should join them that evening for dinner and I would be the one to settle the bill. I felt really giddy that day from all the excitement. My colleagues who didn’t know that I had been taking driving lessons were shocked. They couldn’t believe it because they know that I’m really scared and nervous just at the thought of driving a car. Our receptionist said that since I got a driving licence, she was “inspired“ (wow!) to get one as well; so during our lunch break, she kept asking me questions on what made me decide to take lessons, my experience during the classes, and the times that I took my road tests. I tried to answer her as much as I could, but I didn’t tell her everything (I wanted her to discover the rest on her own).

When hubby came by to pick me up in the afternoon, he asked me if I wanted to drive Piper. I wanted to, but since it was the last day of the week, rush hour, and GITEX was still going on, I decided it would be best to let him take us home. Anyway, there’s lots of time for us to take turns being the passenger and driver now that have a UAE DRIVING LICENCE! Woohoo!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

road test: passed!!!!!!!!!

Finally, at my third attempt, I passed the road test today!

Praise God!

I'll post the details later...for now, I'm just relishing and enjoying the fact that I finally have a UAE driving licence.

I'm sooooo happy!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

survivor philippines - celebrity edition


Guchi and I enjoyed watching the second season (I wanted Justine to win, but then when I saw how she acted when the end drew near, I changed my mind), and when we found out that celebrities would be the castaways in the third season, we looked forward to the first episode.

Being a reality show, it’s very interesting to see how celebrities live in extreme conditions where they have to fend for themselves and survive as long as they can without the luxuries they’re used to. Slowly, their complexions become darker, they get rashes or allergies, some even have to be rushed to the hospital. They become like normal people. Whenever a tribe wins a challenge, it’s amusing to see their faces light up, relishing the simple reward they won.

I like how each of them have their own strategies to become the ultimate survivor (or at least make it to the merge). I like the unexpected twists, making the show different from the previous seasons. But most especially, I enjoy watching the castaways do the challenges...everyone doing their best for their tribe to win rewards or immunity.

Unfortunately, GMA Pinoy TV is getting on our nerves. The first episode was aired at 7:30pm. The next night, it was aired at 9pm. Then they began to air it at 9:15pm, then 9:30pm, then 10:05pm. But last night, it aired at 10:35pm!!! All of these changes without any advance announcement at all!

Geez!

Attention GMA or eVision or Orbit...give us a break, will you and get your air times right?!

Monday, October 18, 2010

gitex

Guchi and I didn’t have any plans yesterday evening, so we decided to check out the different GITEX exhibitors at the Airport Expo. Since we knew that the parking spaces would be full at the venue, we decided to take the metro instead; anyway, a free shuttle bus would be at Rashidiya Station (the last metro station) to take the GITEX-goers to the expo, so at least we didn’t have to worry about traffic or difficulty going there. But, if only it were that simple...

Metro to GITEX. We got on the metro at Khalid Bin Al Waleed Station alright, passing through all the stations until GGICO. But then, when the train approached the Airport Terminal 1 Station, we heard an announcement that everyone had to alight the train and transfer to the other platform. So we did. As soon as the train arrived, we boarded it, along with the other passengers. And then, instead of heading towards Airport Terminal 3 Station, it went back to GGICO Station. Everyone was surprised. None of the train attendants (or whatever you call them) were there to answer our questions. As soon as the train stopped as GGICO Station, a number of passengers got off, asking the attendants at the station what was happening (Guchi and I stayed on the train with the others). We could see that even they didn’t know what happened (or they were explaining, but they also seemed unsure). And then, the doors of the train closed and once again, we were heading towards Terminal 3. It stopped somewhere in between GGICO and Terminal 3, and then we were heading back again to GGICO. No one went down anymore when it stopped, but there were a few passengers who boarded. And then, surprisingly, we were heading back to Deira City Centre! By this time, the people (who were most probably going to GITEX) were getting confused and angry. We couldn’t find anyone who could give us a straight answer as to what was happening or where exactly we should go to get a ride to GITEX. Anyway, once we arrived at Deira City Centre Station, hubby and I got down and went to the other platform for Rashidiya. As we did earlier, we boarded the train and rode it with no problems…until we reached Terminal 1 Station where we heard the same recording that it was the last station and everyone had to alight the train. There was an attendant on the train who informed the passengers that upon exiting the station, there would be shuttle buses that would take the people going to Terminal 3, Emirates Station, Rashidiya Station and GITEX for free. We were thinking that finally, someone was giving us a clear idea on what to do. So, we got off the train (again!), and we were almost about to check-out our cards when we heard some station attendants directing the people to the other platform (the one where we got on the train that took us all the way to Deira City Centre). We didn’t know who to believe! Finally, hubby and I decided to follow the station attendants and go to the platform where they were directing us, and if we end up at City Centre again, we would just go back home. Fortunately, there were about 5 attendants at the platform who knew which trains would go to Rashidiya and which would go back towards Jebel Ali. As soon as they announced that the train that arrived would head towards Rashidiya, everyone made a mad dash to get in. It was like the LRT and MRT in Metro Manila! Finally, we were on our way to Rashidiya. And as announced earlier, there were shuttle buses that were waiting to provide free transportation to those going to the exhibition. As expected, the buses were full, but since we were a few of the first ones to get in, Guchi and I were able to get seats.

GITEX at the Airport Expo. The entrance ticket was Dhs25 each, with a raffle coupon attached. There was just 1 ticketing counter, but even though the queue was pretty long, it was moving quite swiftly. Upon entering the exhibition hall, there were so many booths and stands with people handing out leaflets and brochures to everyone, but we just ignored them and tried to find one that could give us a pen. Finally, we found the stand (or whatever you call it) where the people can fill up forms, tickets, and raffle coupons. While I was waiting for Guchi to fill-up our coupons, an Emirati man was walking towards where we were and I saw that he had bought so many stuff that it filled an entire trolley. Anyway, all of a sudden, he stopped and gave me 2 Panasonic coupons stating that the bearer won a shirt and a pen. He said that I could have them because he didn’t want them. I was surprised, but, hey! a free gift is a free gift…and he gave me two, so I thanked him and accepted them. When Guchi finished completing the details on the raffle stub, we headed to the drop-off box. There, a lady was offering people to have their photos taken and printed on a shirt for free. Since we’re both suckers for freebies, we filled up the form and got ready for our photos. Once they confirmed that we were satisfied with the shots and they got the sizes of our shirts, they gave us the claim stubs saying that we could collect the shirts after an hour. After that, we just went around the hall, checking out the different gadgets. There were so many stands, so many people pushing and shoving, and so much noise! Going around, we were able to get the 2 prizes from Panasonic, a few pens, 2 computer games, a magazine, the shirts with our photos, a notebook, mousepad, id lace, refrigerator magnet, and a pin button. We also got to have our picture taken in Charged’s giant Nokia photobooth and browse the net for a few minutes at Etisalat. By 9pm, we decided that we had seen enough, so we headed out to the exit for the shuttle bus that would take us back to Rashidiya Station.

On the Way Home.Guchi and I settled in our seats while waiting for the people to keep piling in, until the driver decided the bus was full enough to depart. At the metro station, we were directed to the platform that, on normal days, all the passengers get off. But since the metro was out of whack that day due to some technical problems, this is where the passengers would be boarding. When the train arrived, again, everyone rushed in. There was a family (father, mother, kid and baby) who was riding and the baby was beginning to cry, so the mother tried to pacify her. Anyway, everything was ok, until the train approached Airport Terminal 1 Station where we heard the announcement that everyone had to alight the train and board on the other platform. So we did (again!). Fortunately, there were station attendants there who explained and directed to us which train we should board, so that we wouldn’t have a repeat of what happened earlier. While waiting on the platform, we could hear a Chinese lady on the speakers making some announcements in English, but her accent was so distinct that we could barely understand what she was saying. In the train, we rode with the same passengers, including the family with the crying baby. Yes, she was still crying…and we could hear her going on even when Guchi and I went off the train at Khalid Bin Al Waleed Station. We could see that the mother was already embarrassed with the way her baby kept wailing non-stop, but she was just holding her. She didn’t take out a bottle of milk, or a pacifier, or a toy/rattle, or even speak or sing to the baby to shush her up. All she did was carry her, pat her back, and wipe her nose (I think the baby had a cold). But what really shocked hubby and me was the fact that the father wasn’t helping at all! He was seated beside his wife, but he was just looking at his other kid or at the other passengers. There was one time when he tried to carry his baby, but after just 10 seconds, he gave her back to the mother. My gosh! I don’t know what nationality the family was, but I’m glad they weren’t Filipinos.

So, that’s our GITEX experience. Even though Guchi and I have lived in Dubai for more than 6 years already, this was our first time to actually visit the annual exhibition (kinda embarrassing, huh?). But the thing is, since everyone knows that it’s GITEX Week, all the stores that sell electronic gadgets participate and they also put their items on sale or have some promos. So technically, you don’t really need to go to the exhibition, you can go to Sharaf DG, Jacky’s, Plug-Ins, Jumbo or any other store in Dubai. Most probably, you’ll get the same thing for the same price that it’s offered at the exhibition (with the freebies)...less the pushing, shoving and almost deafening noise. However, if you don’t mind the chaos and you want the other freebies and giveaways, then by all means, head on to GITEX. It’ll be an adventure!


Friday, October 15, 2010

eat pray love

Thanks to popsie and momsie, we got these movie passes...

So last night after work, we went straight to Dubai Mall to watch this...

"Do not look at the world through your head; look at it through your heart" (Ketut)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

road test: failed (again)

I thought for sure I would pass, but apparently the examiner thought otherwise.
I’m upset because I don’t believe I made any major mistakes. I was behind the steering wheel longer than the two ladies I was taking the road test with. The examiner kept telling me to turn left, then right, left, right over and over. I think she was trying to confuse me so that I would make a mistake. When I parked the car in the school, I glanced at the paper and saw that the examiner didn’t write anything on it, plus the other ladies in the car told me that I drove well and they said that they saw her nodding a few times. I felt pretty positive.
Unfortunately, when the examiner called me in the room, she said that I made lots of mistakes due to my lack of judgement when changing lanes. WHATEVER!!! I think she just wanted to fail me again because it was only my second take.

Monday, October 11, 2010

good news, good news, bad news

Good news: Yesterday, I went to the typing center at the bottom of the our apartment building to tell him that our visa application was rejected. Fortunately, he said it can be refunded (although not 100%). Once we received the refund application papers from him, we went to Immigration to submit the documents. Fortunately, I didn’t have to wait very long, and after some time, the man at the counter told me that the refund of Dhs640 would be transferred to my bank account after a month. Hurray!

Good news #2: I received a call from the travel agency last night saying that Yaya’s visa was ready. I was expecting to receive it this coming Tuesday, but fortunately I didn’t have to wait that long. Of course, Guchi and I immediately went to collect the visa. Hurray again!

Bad news: I woke up early to go to the Philippine Consulate this morning for the visa authentication. As expected, when I arrived, there were already so many people in different queues, waiting outside the gates. I arrived at 6:45am, and finished everything by 9:20am. Unfortunately, there was no “rush” option for the authentication. It takes 10 working days, so the visa will be released on the 24th of October. This means that my trip to the Philippines is definitely, absolutely, positively negatively(!), postponed. Augh!!!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

don moen in dubai


I sooooo want to watch the concert...and dining with him the next night at Atlantis would be great too!

Unfortunately it doesn't fit in our budget nor does it fit in our schedule (I might be in the Philippines that weekend).

Oh well.

what happened during the weekend

Thursday night. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to apply for yaya’s visit visa because she is not my relative. I was really upset when the lady at Immigration immediately rejected our application without giving me the chance to explain. That’s our hard-earned Dhs720 down the drain! We were left with no other choice so hubby and I headed to the agency in Deira right away. We filled up the papers, gave the lady the documents and paid Dhs850. She told us that the visa would take approximately 3 to 5 working days to process, beginning Sunday. Once we get the visa, I’ll have to go to the Philippine Consulate for the darn authentication which will take up to 10 days (5 if I’m lucky, 20 if I’m not).

On our way to St. Mary’s Church, I kept fighting back my tears while thinking about my trip to the Philippines that has to be postponed. If only they hadn’t implemented this authentication rule, Caila would be with us on her 20th month-birthday (yes, we still celebrate it...coz it coincides with our wedding and boyfriend-girlfriend monthsary). Augh!

Trying to lift up my mood, Guchi said that there was a reason for what was happening. He recalled that when we had problems before with Yaya Cha-Cha, Our Lady of Guadalupe had visited us for a week, and then he received a good job offer. And now, we’re having problems again, and the Filipino Mission is all about Mama Mary. So definitely, things will work out in the end.

Anyway, once we arrived at the church, things started to perk up. We weren’t late (which was what I was worried about earlier) and we were able to sit at our regular pew. Then, Momsie, Popsie and his mom sat beside us, and they gave me and hubby two Dubai Mall movie passes as their thanks to us for hosting their daughter’s birthday last month. Before the final blessing, the congregation prayed the rosary which ended with the final blessing while everyone was holding candles around Mama Mary’s grotto. It was beautiful, and I remembered what hubby had told me earlier, so I just let everything go and lifted up all my worries and concerns to God and Mama Mary.

Almost the entire weekend was spent with friends. Thursday evening was our regular ET gathering. After the Filipino Mass on Friday, Lhen dropped by with Mike and Tesha, and we headed to Joel's apartment in International City. In the evening, Archie and Jenny arrived at our apartment with loads of food for his birthday dinner with the ET gang. As usual, our apartment was filled with laughter, conversations, and downloaded movies and tv shows, with a fun and hilarious game of Charades. Our friends stayed at the apartment until Saturday afternoon, when everyone had to leave because of their household chores or personal errands to run. I had my driving class at 4:30pm. After my 1-hour class, hubby and I rushed to Mirdif City Centre because it was my friend’s daughters’ joint birthday celebration. Fortunately, we arrived just in time (to eat!) because it was almost about to end. The good thing about it was I was able to see my SFC household sisters (Jhan, Ivy, Sheila, Jazz and of course ‘Nay Rose) with their families. It was good to be with them again after a long time and seeing how all of us have grown in our personal lives. Hopefully we’ll see each other again soon...most probably in December when Sheila’s baby boy celebrates his 1st birthday.

When we got home, Ann and Dhenzio were there. They had just arrived from her OB appointment and found out that they will be having a baby girl! Hurray...Caila will be having a playmate!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

frustrating thursday

Failed my road test.

Our receptionist is not cooperating (she just wants to do things her way).

The new visa authentication rules from the Philippine Consulate (they are just sucking our hard-earned money!).

Right after work, hubby and I need to rush to the apartment to get my attested labour contract and my passport, then rush to HSBC to withdraw money, then rush to Immigration to apply for a visit visa (if we apply through an agency, it’ll take 2-3 days).

We might not be able to attend tonight’s Mission (because we have to apply for the visa).

It's highly probable that I will have to reschedule my leave again if we don’t get the authenticated visa on time (waaahhh!!! missing Caila more and more!!!)

ET @ the beach will not push through tonight.

AAAUUUGGGHHH!!!!

burp!

Sunday (26 September): Pinoy Mafia dinner at our Project Manager’s villa
- adobo, KFC chicken, chili con carne, fries, grilled mushrooms, assorted crisps
Monday (27 September): farewell luncheon at the office for our Engineering Deputy General Manager
- Subway sandwiches, Dajen Grill bbq chicken, grilled lamb chops, chicken kofta, meat arayes, hummus, Arabic bread, cakes
Monday (27 September): monthsary dinner date with hubby at Gourmet Burger Kitchen, DFC
- I forgot the names of what we ordered but we had chicken satay, 2 different steaks, and an Oreo cookie bash
Thursday (30 September): weekly CFC household at Lot and Che’s residence
- grilled pusit, dinuguan, maja blanca, fresh fruits
Friday (1 October): farewell dinner for Kuya Omer at his residence in Nahda
- grilled pusit, pancit, kaldereta, sisig, kilawin, fruit salad, maja blanca

Thank you, Lord, for a week filled with delicious food and fun times with great people.

road test: failed

I flunked my road test this morning...along with the two other ladies who were in the same car. The Indian lady was first. It was her second take. Then the other Pinay (her first take), then me.
When it was my turn, in the beginning I was driving alright. But once we went on the highway, I became all nervous because there were so many cars speeding by. It didn’t help that the examiner kept barking instructions or warnings all of a sudden. When she suddenly turned the steering wheel, I knew I was doomed. My test lasted about 10 minutes before she told me to return the car to the school. I parked and we all went out of the car.
When she called me into the room, she pointed out my mistakes (they were a lot, but at least they were less than the other 2 ladies). After she gave me the paper, I called my instructor to inform him of the bad news. He met me after a few minutes at the lobby. Upon checking my paper, he said that it was unfortunate that I had my road test with that lady examiner. Apparently she is very strict (one mistake, and she immediately fails). She had been gone for two months and today was her first day back (talk about bad timing!).
Oh well. I need to take another 6 classes before my next road test. That’s another bulk of money out of my wallet. Augh!!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

nicene creed

I remember that this was usually recited during the masses in Papua New Guinea. Since I was a kid then, I didn’t really pay attention to what I was saying. Then, we moved to the Philippines and it was the Apostles Creed that was recited.
I had forgotten all about the Nicene Creed until last night during the Filipino Mission by Fr. Rolly Briones. Only then did I realize how beautiful it really is.

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.
Amen.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

d-day

I just received an SMS with the schedule of my road test.
I am so nervous and excited!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

acceptance & contentment

Stop comparing and start living and you'll be happier with your life. (Bo Sanchez)

Thank you, Kuya Lowell, for the forwarded e-mail.
Thank you, Bo, for opening my eyes.
And thank you, Lord, for making me a perfect creation.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

paos

Since I woke up on Saturday morning, my voice has been hoarse and husky. My throat isn’t hurting and I don’t have a cold; I haven’t even been drinking ice cold drinks lately, nor have I had sweets (err...except maybe for the slice of Oreo Cookie Bash from Gourmet Burger Kitchen last night). The only reason I can think of is because hubby and I were asked to host the first part of a friend’s daughter’s 7th birthday party last Friday night.
Because the guests were not all Pinoy, we had to speak in English so that everyone could understand (nosebleed!), and getting the attention of about 25 boys and girls (dressed up as princes and princesses), ranging between 1 and 9 years old, telling them what to do was, of course, no simple task. We had to repeat everything we said!
It was fun, but now that I’m on my 4th day of having a “bedroom voice,” I think I’d rather leave the hosting to the pros and enjoy being a simple guest instead.

assessment test: passed

Yesterday, I left the office early because my Assessment Test was scheduled for 3:30pm. Since this test is similar to the Road Test, I was expecting to take it with 3 other students. I was wrong...I was the only one with the lady examiner.
Once we were in the car, I did the regular checks with the seat, mirrors and instrument panel, fastened my seatbelt and turned on the engine. On her signal to start, I put the handbrake down, shifted to reverse gear, pulled out of the parking space and started driving.
All throughout, I kept reminding myself to relax and stay calm. All I heard from the examiner was either go left, go right, take the U-turn, etc. There were turns, roundabouts and merging lanes that I had to go through as well.
After about 7 minutes, she told me to return to the school and park the car. I made a mistake then because I didn’t understand where she wanted me to park it, almost ending up in a slanted position. Fortunately, I was able to adjust the car into the box where it was parked earlier. As soon as I turned off the engine, she gave me her comments. She said my driving was generally ok, but there were times when the positioning of the car was not correct, particularly when we were turning right at a roundabout and when I was making a U-turn. She didn’t say if I had passed or not, so I was still nervous when we went to her office.
Finally, once we were seated, she wrote ASSESSMENT TEST PASSED on my paper and signed it (it was supposed to be stamped but she couldn’t find the stamp). I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief! She said she would schedule my Road Test for next week and I should continue to take my driving classes until then (which means I have to pay a bit more for the additional classes).
So...Five tests down, one more (and hopefully the last) to go.

Monday, September 20, 2010

going to church isn't as easy as you thought

Yesterday for the first time in a long time, Guchi and I were able to attend a complete mass at St. Mary’s Church. By “complete,” I mean with singing, the Prayer of the Faithful, and most importantly the priest’s Homily. It was nice, and I realized only yesterday that I missed the experience.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

rules of life

During our household last week, one of our sisters told us about a speech that Bill Gates gave to a group of high school students recently. However, the “11 Things That They Don't Teach in School” the Microsoft Chairman talked about actually came from Charles J. Sykes. Here’s the list as it was written and compiled by Mr. Sykes (including the last 3 that Mr. Gates didn’t mention):

1) Life is not fair. Get used to it. The average teen-ager uses the phrase, "It's not fair" 8.6 times a day. You got it from your parents, who said it so often you decided they must be the most idealistic generation ever. When they started hearing it from their own kids.
2) The real world won't care as much about your self-esteem as much as your school does. It'll expect you to accomplish something before you feel good about yourself. This may come as a shock. Usually, when inflated self-esteem meets reality, kids complain it's not fair.
3) Sorry, you won't make $40,000 a year right out of high school. And you won't be a vice president or have a car phone either. You may even have to wear a uniform that doesn't have a Gap label.
4) If you think your teacher is tough, wait 'til you get a boss. He doesn't have tenure, so he tends to be a bit edgier. When you screw up, he's not going to ask you how you feel about it.
5) Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word of burger flipping. They called it opportunity. They weren't embarrassed making minimum wage either. They would have been embarrassed to sit around talking about Kurt Cobain or Britney Speers all weekend.
6) It's not your parents' fault. If you screw up, you are responsible. This is the flip side of "It's my life," and "You're not the boss of me," and other eloquent proclamations of your generation. When you turn 18, it's on your dime. Don't whine about it, or you'll sound like a kid.
7) Before you were born your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way paying your bills, cleaning up your room and listening to you tell them how idealistic you are. And by the way, before you save the rain forest from the blood-sucking parasites of your parents' generation, try delousing the closet in your bedroom.
8) Your school may have done away with winners and losers. Life hasn't. In some schools, they'll give you as many times as you want to get the right answer. Failing grades have been abolished and class valedictorians scrapped, lest anyone's feelings be hurt. Effort is as important as results. This, of course, bears not the slightest resemblance to anything in real life.
9) Life is not divided into semesters, and you don't get summers off. Not even Easter break. They expect you to show up every day. For eight hours. And you don't get a new life every 10 weeks. It just goes on and on. While we're at it, very few jobs are interesting in fostering your self-expression or helping you find yourself. Fewer still lead to self-realization.
10) Television is not real life. Your life is not a sitcom. Your problems will not all be solved in 30 minutes, minus time for commercials. In real life, people actually have to leave the coffee shop to go to jobs. Your friends will not be as perky or pliable as Jennifer Aniston.
11) Be nice to nerds. You may end up working for them. We all could.
12) Smoking does not make you look cool. It makes you look moronic. Next time you're out cruising, watch an 11-year-old with a butt in his mouth. That's what you look like to anyone over 20. Ditto for "expressing yourself" with purple hair and/or pierced body parts.
13) You are not immortal. If you are under the impression that living fast, dying young and leaving a beautiful corpse is romantic, you obviously haven't seen one of your peers at room temperature lately.
14) Enjoy this while you can. Sure parents are a pain, school's a bother, and life is depressing. But someday you'll realize how wonderful it is to be a kid. Maybe you should start now.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

that plastic card

Up to this day, I’ve never really owned a credit card that I could freely use whenever I wanted.
I remember when I had just graduated from university, I received a credit card in the mail with a letter stating that since I was an alumni from this reputable school, I was automatically eligible to have this prestigious credit card; no joining fees, no annual fees, and so and so credit limit. All I had to do was call the call center and activate it. I never did.
There was also a time when I worked for a credit card company in Makati. After the probationary period, all the employees are entitled to have a credit card; again no joining fees, no annual fees, and so and so credit limit (depending on the rank/category). I never bothered to get one. Even when my colleagues and friends were saying that I should get one so that I have something in case of an emergency, I wasn’t convinced.
When my older sister started working in Dubai, she got a credit card and made me and Mama her supplementaries (or whatever you call it), so automatically we got credit cards as well. Since she was the one who was going to settle the bills, we only used our cards if she wanted us to buy something for her or if she told us to withdraw money and use that for our expenses. Mama and I never used our cards for anything else.
Now, I’m here in Dubai and from time to time, I get calls from all these banks offering me credit cards with all these perks and benefits. Usually as soon as they say that they’re from so and so bank, I immediately cut them off and tell them that if they’re offering their credit card, I’m not interested. That ends the conversation short right away.
Don’t get me wrong. I know the card has its advantages: you don’t have to carry large amounts of money, it’s very helpful especially during emergencies, and nowadays bookings or reservations have to be guaranteed through this piece of plastic. I remember when hubby (who was still my fiancée then) and I checked-in at the hotel for our wedding preps. The hotel required a security deposit and they didn’t accept cash. I thought this was silly but since this was the rule, Guchi presented his credit card and my sister presented hers. When we checked out 2 days later, we settled the bill in cash.
The thing is, I’ve never really liked credit cards. I’ve heard stories and seen so many people practically drowning in debt because they lost control and overspent. There are those who, just because they know they have this card which is easily accessible to them, immediately purchase or pay for things without even stopping to think if they really need them. Then after a day or two, that’s when they regret making the wrong decision and there’s no way to get the money back.
Between the two of us, only hubby has a credit card. During the rare occasions that he does use it, I always make sure that the full amount is paid before the due date. This way, we won’t have to settle any more payments with unnecessary interests.
Because I don’t have a card, I’ve disciplined myself to save money if I really want to buy something...even if I know it will take some time. At least this way, I make sure to think things through, whether I need it or whether I want it bad enough, and if I’ll be getting my money’s worth.
I know one day I will have to get a card (especially since it’s becoming a necessity to own one), but for now I’m happy that I don’t have to worry about any card payments I still have to settle.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

eid al fitr date

For the first day of Eid Al Fitr, hubby and I went out on a date.

In the morning, we went to the Galleria Ice Rink at Hyatt Regency. It was the first time for both of us to actually ice-skate, so for the first 30 minutes, we were just staying at the sides of the rink. After I became used to the skates, I began to boldly let go of the sides bit by bit, until I was able to go into the center of the rink. Hubby, having had no experience at all even with roller blades, kept staying near the sides most of the time. There was an instructor teaching a student how to skate, so hubby tried copying what they were doing. I landed on my butt once and hubby fell twice. It hurt, but both of us were enjoying ourselves too much to dwell on the pain. It was a good thing that there were just a few of us using the rink, ‘cause it gave us enough space to skate around at our own pace. We kept laughing at ourselves every time we fell or slid around to maintain our balance, it was like we were kids again.
Finally at 12nn, we decided to leave and have lunch.

We went straight to our favorite mall (Dubai Festival City) for subs at Charley’s and ice-cream at McDonald’s. We had planned to go bowling after lunch, but when we passed by the cinema and saw that Step Up 3-D was already showing, we decided to watch that instead. However, we had to wait for more than an hour because it had already started, so we just walked around the mall to pass away the time.

We went window shopping until we ended up at Toys R Us where hubby played PS3 and I tried fencing and bowling on Wii. I would have played longer if not for the little boy who went up to me with his hand out, saying “My turn! My turn!” We finally decided to leave and head for the cinema since the movie was about to start.

It was our first time to watch a movie on 3D so we were both excited. We thought the 3D glasses they were going to give us were the typical cardboard ones with blue and red lens, but what they gave us were actual 3D glasses. The story was similar to Step Up 1 and 2, but it was entertaining just the same. The effects were amazing and the dance steps were really cool! I wish I could dance like them. After the movie, I just had to have a picture beside the movie poster with my glasses on. I didn’t care if there were so many people walking around or looking at me. I wanted a remembrance of my first 3D movie.


We then headed to HyperPanda for groceries, and finally went back to our apartment to a dinner of take-home California Maki and leftover pizza.

It was a great day and I think it was a first for both of us to go out where we did so many things that we enjoyed doing together. I wonder when our next date will be?

Eid Mubarak everyone!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

on the roads of dubai

Good news! Our DGM just approved my request to adjust my work timings every (working) Saturday, Monday and Wednesday so that I could take my driving lessons during the week.

I thought he would insist that I should take the lessons during the weekend only (which would cost more), but fortunately he accepted my plan to come to work 1 hour early so that I could leave at 4pm. Hurray!

Just an update on what I’ve been doing lately during my lessons...Ever since I passed my hill and 2 parking tests, I’ve been taking the car out on the roads of Dubai. On the first day, Mateen told me to just drive around the area near the school where I could practice humps, roundabouts, left turns and right turns. The second day, we ventured towards Lamcy and Creek Park areas. Yesterday, we went really far...to the Fruits & Vegetable Market area in Ras Al Khor. Picture me being really stiff and nervous almost the whole time, especially when big cars and trucks were driving by. There was a car that overtook us and went in front of our car, so Mateen told me to overtake it and go in front of the car as well. He kept telling me to speed up, until I realized we were going at more than 100 kph! That’s when my palms starting sweating and I had to ask for tissue. Good thing we were approaching a junction so I had to slow down.

Anyway, looking back, I could say that I’ve improved a lot. I may be making some mistakes (especially when making turns), but at least I’ve become a bit more confident and relaxed when driving. It may not be much, but at this point in time, I'm really proud of myself.

Monday, September 6, 2010

signal test: passed

I took my signal test this morning.

Normally, the student would go in, wait for a few minutes until her name was called, then take the test (for a maximum of 10 minutes). Right after answering the last question, the computer would show whether the student passed or not, and the Police Examiner would stamp accordingly on the driving permit. The whole procedure was expected to take less than 12 minutes. I was wrong.

My test was scheduled for 8am, but since hubby told me that I should arrive early just in case there were a lot of us who were taking the test, I arrived at the school’s Ladies Waiting Area at 7:30am. I took a seat at the front row, and after a couple of minutes, a lady called us in a room to submit the papers. Apparently, not everyone there was going to take the signal test. There were others who were going to take their road test or assessment test.

I was the first one to give my paper for the signal test so the lady told me to sit down in front of the computer and enter my details, which I did. However, the screen showed that I wasn’t registered to take the test that day. The lady tried again, but the screen showed the same thing. She then told me to go the Test Counter and inform them of the problem. I did, but only the Office Boy was there, so he took my paper and told me to wait until someone would call me. I waited...and waited...and waited until it was already 8:05am, then I went to the counter to follow-up. There was a man there who was explaining to a lady to go to another room and speak to the RTA person. When he called my name, he told me to go to the same room because the lady and I had the same problem. Upon entering Room 3, there was nobody there even though the office hours on the door said it would begin at 8am. Augh!!! Following both of us was another lady and 2 men. We all had the same problem. Again, we waited...and waited...and waited, but nobody from RTA came. We went back to the counter and they referred us to another room. The person there told us to just wait at Room 3 because only they could help us. We went back, waited for another 5 minutes, and stormed out. We went to the person at the Customer Service counter to complain, but he wouldn’t help us either. They were sending us on a wild goose chase. It was ridiculous!!!

Finally (after going back and forth between people and rooms), the person at the Test Counter took our papers and told us to wait until 9am when the Police Examiner would arrive because she was taking students for their Road Tests. The time was already 8:45am, so I had to wait for 15 more minutes (more or less). As soon as I saw her arrive, I went to the counter and told the man she was there. He told me he would give our papers to her right away, so I went to the Testing Room and went to the lady. Again, we were asked to wait because she didn’t have our papers yet. I was really running out of patience this time but since I didn’t want to get on her bad side (hey, she might be the one who will be giving my assessment and road tests), I did what she told me to do. The man at the counter finally gave her the papers after 15 minutes (that’s their definition of “right away”). Fortunately, my paper was at the top so she called out my name first. I entered my details, started answering the test, and when I was done in less than 5 minutes, the screen showed that I had passed. Hurray!

The Examiner stamped my permit and I was out of the school in no time, rushing to work because I was already more than an hour late. Luckily, my colleague had told my manager that I was not feeling well when I woke up but assured him that I was still going to work today just as soon as I felt better. I arrived at the office by 9:25am, with no questions from my manager. Whew!

Four tests down, two to go!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

love you forever

This afternoon, while I was working away at my desk, our office boy dropped off an envelope in my tray. I thought it was just ordinary mail (an invoice or contract or newsletter) so I didn’t bother to look at it right away. It was only after I had finished everything I needed to do that I found time to check out the orange envelope. And, boy was I surprised! As soon as I saw who it was from, I opened it immediately...and here’s what I found:


“Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch...autographed by the author himself for me!

I wanted to jump for joy! Of course, I couldn’t (it wouldn’t be appropriate since I was at the office). Instead, I showed it off to my 3 colleagues who were also mothers, telling them that this book is a really nice story to read to their children.

I’m so excited to read this to Caila. Actually, when I first heard about this book from n@w early this year, I began reciting the verses of the song to her every day…and then the time came when she would join me in saying “baby - bee” when I would reach the last line. It’s so cute!

I hope that when she’s back with us next month, she’ll still be interested to hear the full story...and join me again each time I recite the verses of the song.

flower hotdog

Yesterday, I came down with dry cough and colds. I think I got it from hubby because he had it since Wednesday. In the morning, I just began to cough from time to time; but it got worse in the afternoon because the a/c of the car I was driving was directly hitting my face and it couldn’t be adjusted; I couldn’t turn it off either because the weather was scorching hot.
As soon as I arrived at home after my driving class, I changed my clothes and plopped myself on the couch beside hubby with a pillow and blanket. He had put on some episodes of Glee, but since I had already watched them, I took a nap instead.
By 6:30pm, he had finished watching and started to prepare dinner. There were a lot of leftovers that just needed re-heating so he cooked hotdogs for our lunch the next day. I had already woken up and was just staring at the TV when he sat down on the couch beside me and said “Mahal, this is for you." And this is what I saw:

Cheesy, I know, but I really appreciated it. Maybe I was miserably sick, but his gesture was really sweet and thoughtful. It didn’t help me get better, but it sure lifted up my spirits.
Thank you, Mahal. I love you *huge smiling face* (hehehe).

garage parking, side parking & hill tests: passed

I took my first 3 tests last Thursday afternoon, along with 5 other ladies. One by one, we were required to get in the car, do a test, then go out of the car and wait for our turn to take the next test. It started at 4:30pm, and we were standing out in the sun while waiting for our turns with no shade. It was soooo hot!

The Garage Parking Test was first, which all of us did with no problems.

The Side Parking Test was next. The lady who took the test ahead of me forgot to return the steering wheel to the original position and I only noticed it when I had started reversing. Fortunately, I was able to adjust the car and bring it inside the “box,” giving me another PASSED stamp on my paper. There was 1 who failed this test because she had turned the steering wheel too early, ending up with the car outside the box. We all thought the Police Examiner would give her another chance, but unfortunately it was just one chance for each.

Last was the Hill Test where we had to take the car forward up the hill and back in reverse. I was getting really nervous this time, because: 1) I had only done this for 2 classes, unlike the others; and 2) contrary to what hubby had told me (maybe just to boost up my confidence) not everyone passes these tests. The lady who took the test before me had failed because she mixed up the use of the accelerator and brakes, and she kept turning the steering wheel, ending up too close to the side. When my turn came, I adjusted my seat and the mirrors and put the seatbelt on. Again, the lady before me had forgotten to bring the steering wheel to the original position (which I didn’t notice again!). Luckily, I was able to adjust the car to its proper position. As soon as I was ready to move the car, the Examiner told me to bring the gear to neutral, and accelerate. I was confused because I knew that I had to be on driving gear, but I did what she instructed...which was wrong of course. She told me how could I expect to bring the car up the hill if I was on neutral. I wanted to tell her “DUH!” but instead I kept quiet, brought the gear to D, accelerated, put the hand-brake down, stepped on the brakes when we reached the other side of the hill, and put the hand-brake up. I proceeded to do the same thing in reverse gear to go back to where we started while checking the mirrors and the back of the car, and adjusting the steering wheel to make sure we were in the middle of the road. Finally, she said the best words I heard all day: “Congratulations. You passed all 3 tests.”

Whew! Three down, three more to go!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

words from caila

27 August: Opo. Tentu (Thank You). Mwah! – after we greeted her for her 18th
month birthday
30 August: Hello? Hi! Daddy! Mommy! Mama – usually she just calls us Da and Mimi

Everytime we get to speak with her and hear her say new words, hubby and I become really happy and excited (in addition to missing her more, of course).
Approximately 1 ½ more months until she’s with us again. We can hardly wait!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

instant fellowship with my sfc babies

Isn’t it funny that when you plan a get-together with your friends in advance, it never happens because not everyone can make it; but when you decide to have it right away, everyone is able to turn up?

Since May of this year, my former SFC members and I have been trying to schedule a fellowship. Because all of them are from different chapters and they have their own activities and responsibilities in SFC, our schedules have always been conflicting. There was practically no day during the week when all of us were available at the same time...until last Monday.

Last Thursday, Carol started the thread asking when and if our fellowship would ever push through. No one confirmed. Then Leih called me on Sunday night with a suggestion for Iftar. I started the thread again, mentioning Leih’s idea and asking for everyone’s availability.

Ces was free any night. My schedule was open except for Friday. Joanne had households on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and her Sunday was already booked. Mitch and Leih weren’t free on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Which left only Monday and Saturday...so Monday night it was. Actually, Leih and Carol already had plans for the night, but of course they loved us that much to cancel their plans (haha!).

We enjoyed a very reasonably priced and filling Iftar at Citymax Hotel, strolled around MOE, and had yummy ice-cream from Cold Stone Creamery (courtesy of Leih as her advance birthday treat)...and not to forget the endless laughter, stories, and countless photos we took almost everywhere we went.

Of course, we were missing Gracie (who had returned to the Philippines last February)...but technically, we were complete.

We kept laughing at how long it had taken us to schedule for this get-together, and all of a sudden, without any planning, we were able to have this fellowship.

It was great to be with all of them again. Even though we had our own lives, it was as if nothing had changed. Our friendship was still there and the bond of sisterhood was still strong. I will always be proud of Leih, Mitch, Ces, Joanne, Carol and Gracie...my SFC babies.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

my 3rd driving lesson

Yesterday, I was able to side park, garage park and drive on the roads outside the driving school! Hurray!
The side parking was a bit complicated at first because there were so many things to take note of; but after repeating it so many times, I was finally able to do it.
Right after that, Mateen taught me garage parking. This was much easier than side parking, so I only had to do it a couple of times before I finally got the hang of it.
And just as I thought the lesson was over for the day, he told me to go out of the driving school compound and turn on the main road. As expected, I was practically terrified, especially when I noticed that there were so many cars around us driving so fast. Of course, I didn’t have to worry because my instructor was with me. Anyway, he just told me to take the car for a spin around the area.
After a few minutes, we returned to the driving school, ending our lesson (and my nervousness) for the day. Whew!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

a blessed day!

Last week, our office received a notice from DEWA (Dubai Electricity & Water Authority) that there would be a scheduled electricity interruption in our area from 6:30am to 10:15am on the 18th of August. Because of this, our Deputy General Manager decided that we would start work today at 10:30am...which is what we did. All of us expected that since we started the day late, we would have to work until 4:30pm. Fortunately, our DGM decided that since it was Ramadan and most of the offices would be closed by 2pm, we didn’t have to extend anymore. For me, I could leave at 1pm, meaning I only had to work for 2 ½ hours today. Yaaaaayyy!!!

Tonight, hubby and I are going to Metropolitan Hotel because their Sales Executive invited me (with hubby) for Iftar and a tour around the hotel. Instant date for me and Guchi...double Yaaaaayyy!!!

Monday, August 16, 2010

movie-mercials

Hubby and I watched “Hating Kapatid” last night at Mall of the Emirates. The story wasn’t spectacular or anything; it just showed the life of sisters whose parents had to work abroad, leaving them with their grandmother, helper and cousin.

In my opinion, even though Judy Ann Santos and Sarah Geronimo were in it, the movie was just so-so. What I hated about it were the countless endorsements of Sarah’s sponsors/products. They were so obvious! It was just so exasperating to see close-ups of these things almost every 15-20 minutes all throughout the film.

I haven’t been able to watch Filipino movies that much, but whenever I do, I’ve noticed that it’s very common for sponsors or products of the lead artists to be shown so obviously during the film...to the point that the actor/actress has lines promoting them.

These sponsors may have helped finance the filming and production or whatever, but jeez, aren’t the countless “thank you’s” the artists say during the shows when they promote the film enough? The credits after the movie also mention the sponsors they would like to thank, so why the need to use the movie as a commercial? It’s annoying and distracts the viewers from the storyline (well, for me anyway, and I don’t think I’m alone in this).

Next month, “In Your Eyes” will be showing in Dubai. It seems to have a good plot, but if it’s going to be another movie-mercial, I’d rather watch a cheesy Hollywood film instead.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

taking the driver’s seat

During the past few days, I attended the required 4 lecture classes for driving.
Preliminary Lecture. This was just an introduction on the basics of the car and driving.
Traffic Signs and Road Markings. The lecturer showed and explained to us some of the 350+ traffic signs and road markings that are used in the UAE. And we have to know all of them for the Signal Test.
Safety Precaution Training. We were taught the things we could do in emergency cases, applying first aid when required, and fire safety.
Final Lecture. The lecturer explained the features of the UAE driving licence, how to obtain one, and the things to avoid so as not to earn black points which result to having the licence confiscated or cancelled.
Everything that was explained in the lectures was in the Learn Driving handbook that was given to us, and the instructors usually remind the students these lessons during the outdoor/road classes. For those who intend to skip the lectures and just get the handbook, sorry, this can’t be done…coz every student has to get their Learning Permit stamped by the lecturer after each class.
Anyway, students can attend the lectures anytime, as long as s/he has completed them before the tests…and there are a lot: Signal Test, Parking Test, Hill Test, Garage Test, Assessment Test and Road Test. The Road Test is the final one that decides whether you deserve to have a UAE driving licence or not.

By the way...remember I mentioned in my previous post that I was going to start my driving lessons last Thursday? Well, I did...not last Thursday, but yesterday. Apparently, the lady from the driving school made a mistake (she thought my lessons were Sun-Tue-Thu, but they were Sat-Mon-Wed).
Anyway, as soon as we got in the car, my instructor (Mr. Mateen) first explained to me the basics and asked me a few questions of some of the stuff that was taught in the Preliminary Lecture. Then he drove around the back of the driving school, explaining how to maneuver and use the steering wheel, indicators, etc. After one round, it was my turn to control the car. I did the necessary checkings (doors, seat, steering wheel, seatbelt and mirrors) and went on the road. However, since the seat was still a bit low, Mateen had to borrow a pillow/cushion from his colleague for me. It was embarrassing, but it helped. As expected, since it was my first time to actually drive, the ride wasn’t perfect. In the beginning, whenever I had to turn to the left or right, I would either end up at the left lane or almost bump into a barrier, post, or the car in front of me. Luckily, the car had brakes on the passenger side so Mateen could step on it when required. After some time, he told me to take the car to an area where he taught me to do Figure 8’s so that I could practice turning left and right, at the same time teaching me the proper positioning of my hands on the steering wheel. When we returned to the road, I was still a bit shaky with my turns, but with a little improvement. Anyway, before I knew it, my first class was over and it was time to park the vehicle (of course, Mateen did that). All in all, it was fun, exciting and nerve-racking.

I’m looking forward to my next class tomorrow. In the meantime, I need to learn to be more relaxed and confident when taking the driver’s seat.

five things parents can do in raising their child

A n@wie sis (hi Arvee!) attended Kumon’s Seminar in July with her colleague, where one of the speakers was Bam Aquino (cousin of P-Noy and the youngest Cabinet Official ever). Mr. Aquino spoke of several things his parents did when he was growing up that contributed a lot to the man that he has become – successful, yet God-fearing and family-oriented.
Here are the 5 lessons he outlined:

My parents taught me the value of achievement.
* Excellence is a HABIT they instilled in me.
* Failure is not an option but a reality. They taught me to be resilient.
* It's not the end that really matters but the climb.
Only their love is free. Nothing else is.
* You must always work hard for everything.
They NEVER sheltered me.
* My parents let me experience how life really is. During campaigns we helped our late Uncle Ninoy and late Auntie Cory; and my parents let us really experience the experience…kahit mainit, magulo at mahirap.
They let me choose my own adventures.
* Never micromanage your child.
* Just give them parameters then allow them to decide on their own even if you don't always agree with the decision.
Integrity Service.
* Always serve as a good example.


Arvee shared this in our egroup, and with her permission (thanks sis!) I’ve posted it here to help and serve as a reminder to me and other parents out there.
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